Know your participants
By Tom Dixon
We give workshops around the world to academics, industry professionals, students and CEOs alike.
We prepare our workshops based on our audience – the participants – and we teach participants to do the same.
As a scientist, you’re the expert in your field. But, the chances are, not everyone in an audience knows what you’re talking about if you use the technical language of your discipline.
It’s exactly the same when we are talking about our area of expertise – communication.
It sounds very obvious to say ‘know your audience’, but it’s amazing how many times you’ll sit through a talk where the presenter says, ‘it’s complex’, or, ‘I’ll just whiz through this bit because it’s very technical’.
A good tip we often remind ourselves of when running workshops is to ask if our grandma/neighbour/partner/child could understand what we’re explaining.
If people understand you, they feel empowered with the new knowledge they’ve received.
We say it loud, and we say it often – the best presenters, even of a workshop, are those who know their audience.